Bringing the kids on vacation to Palm Desert this year? The whole family will love the activities offered in the Coachella Valley, like a trip to Living Desert Zoo & Gardens or the Wet ‘n Wild Water Park. With so many fun family activities, it can be hard choosing which activities will take priority.
We rounded up our local experts and asked them which Palm Desert activities were family-favorites, resulting in this kid-, teen- and adult-approved list of the 9 Best Family Activities in Palm Desert!
You’re on vacation, so it’s fitting you take an adventure. Big Wheel Tours offers custom outdoor adventures in Joshua Tree National Park, the San Andreas Fault Line and the Salton Sea areas. Depending on your desired level of adventure, you can choose between a bicycle tour or a Jeep/SUV tour. You’ll enjoy sweeping, memorable views and you’ll also learn something along the way. Big Wheel Tours offers several different excursions, so you can choose whether you’d rather see Joshua Tree, General Patton’s desert preparation grounds during World War II and more.
Exploring the Palm Desert area by foot, bike or jeep is an excellent way to catch some sights, but nothing is better than a bird’s-eye view! For a price of just $17 – $26 per/person (depending on your age), families can hop aboard the Palm Springs Aerial Tram and ride two-and-a-half miles up the mountain to the Mountain Station. Once on top, you can go for a hike together and catch dinner at the mountaintop restaurant.
Living Desert Zoo & Gardens is the perfect family activity for animal lovers, nature lovers and for those who simply enjoy learning new things. Explore of 1,200 acres of plants, trails and wildlife with your family. After you feed giraffes and check out amphibians from around the world, you can go for a hike and learn about different species of flowers. Living Desert Zoo & Gardens offers guided tours if you’re looking for an informational experience and they even have summer ZooCamp for kids if parents need time for a tennis match.
Whether your family has an aviation enthusiast or you’re just looking for a wow-factor, the Palm Springs Air Museum is sure to be a hit. This museum is full of classic planes that will take you back in time, like the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, a.k.a. “Miss Angela”, or the Grumman F4F Wildcat. The real wow-factor of the Palm Springs Air Museum? Some of these babies still fly! If you plan ahead, you can book a ride in a vintage Warbird C-47, and many other classic flying machines.
For just $10 a person, families can explore the wonder of the Children’s Discovery Museum in Rancho Mirage, CA. This fun museum offers ever-changing exhibits and interactive displays. Kids will love problem solving with their parents, conducting scientific experiments and playing to their heart’s content. It’s the perfect rainy-day activity, and the museum also offers toddler camps and summer day camps so parents can plan some grown-up time.
Desert Adventure Tours offers the perfect setting for the photographer or selfie-star in your family. Book a San Andreas Fault Sunset Jeep Tour, and catch wildlife at their most active time while the sky morphs into a pink and purple hue. Desert Adventures Tours offers tours of many different areas, including Painted Canyon, Mecca Hills and the San Andreas Fault by foot, bike or Jeep.
Rent a cabana for the day at Wet ‘n Wild Water Park! This is the perfect way to cool off from the sun, and there are water rides for everyone in the family. Take your pick between raft rides or water slides, and take the whole family on rides crafted especially for the little ones. Wet ‘n Wild Water Park offers several dining options, so you can stay at the park all day. There are even adult beverages for the parents.
Enjoy a night out on the town, with a show at the McCallum Theatre. This performing arts and cultural center is home to spectacular performances and educational opportunities throughout the year. Performances such as Willie Nelson and theatrical acts like The Wizard of Oz can be seen here.
For a bit more of a tranquil and educational experience, the Sunnylands Center & Gardens will amaze you. It was built with the purpose of providing a meeting place for solution-driven community meetings, and its architecture and landscaping are breathtaking. You can take a historic house tour, go for a birding tour or enjoy the “Open Air Experience”, which is a loosely guided tour with a chance to explore.
With so much to see and do in Palm Desert, we hope our guide to the nine best family activities helped you find the perfect thing to do. If you’re still looking, check out these other great Palm Desert activities, and don’t forget to book your vacation rental.